This section explains the role of ATSDR staff in the PHA process.
ATSDR staff include environmental health scientists, toxicologists, health educators, physicians, behavioral scientists, engineers, communications specialists, and public health program specialists. These staff perform a variety of functions, including the following:
- Identify sources of contamination, characterize exposures to people, and make recommendations to protect human health.
- Evaluate, and sometimes conduct, environmental and biological sampling to determine whether individuals are being exposed to unhealthy levels of environmental contamination.
- Synthesize health information on hazardous substances and provide information to the general public, communities, and healthcare providers treating persons exposed to these hazardous substances.
- Train local healthcare providers and educate community members about health matters related to the local environment through workshops, availability sessions, public meetings, health fairs, and other activities.
Many ATSDR staff members take on roles and functions in the PHA process as shown in this table, as well as work with staff from CDC (i.e., ATSDR’s sister agency) such as those with the National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH). Everyone involved in the PHA process is working toward the overarching goal of reducing people’s exposures to contaminants in the environment.
Roles and Functions in the PHA Process
|ATSDR health assessors
|ATSDR communication specialists
|ATSDR regional representatives
|ATSDR scientific support staff
|ATSDR headquarters managers